‘A face and personality to transactions’: DTSF small businesses tout community

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — In the middle of a hardware store in downtown Sioux Falls, there was a strong sense of community. 

That’s the message multiple small business owners want people to take away ahead of Small Business Saturday, which started in 2010 on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving. 

Jamie Wood, District Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration, called small businesses the “fibers that hold communities together.” 

“They are providing the goods and services that we need every day to keep going,” Wood said. “They’re also volunteers in our communities. They open their pocketbooks and give to the organizations like the schools and sports teams.”  

A 2018 Small Business Economic Impact Study by American Express showed 67 cents of every dollar spent at a small business stays in the community. This year, American Express and the U.S. Small Business Administration teamed up for a “Shop Small” campaign for holiday shopping. 

“I think there’s a lot of people that do patronize small businesses throughout the year but it’s just a good reminder to get people out,” Mary Campbell said. “We’re stoked for it again.” 

Campbell is the co-owner of The Breaks Coffee Roasting Co. which opened in 2020. She said small business owners in downtown Sioux Falls embrace the spirit of a downtown community. 

“A lot of us are on a first-name basis,” Campbell said. “It’s a nice little network. It’s nice to put a face and personality to transactions you have to make.” 

The community-embracing factor can be found among small businesses across the state of South Dakota, according to the South Dakota Retailers Association Executive Director Nathan Sanderson.

“Small businesses out there are really trying to give back to their communities this time of year. When an individual patronizes a small business, they are certainly helping out those small business owners but their communities as well,” Sanderson said. “We would certainly encourage people as they are looking for quality,  well-made items that are available, take a look at those small-town retailers. There are great opportunities all around the state.” 

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, a small business is any business 500 employees or less. Wood works with small business owners and future small business owners every day, finding ways to help support small businesses. She said SBA loans go up to $5 million and added people spend an average of 15 years thinking about starting a small business before opening one up.

“It is a great time to start a business right now,” Wood said. “Getting the funding that you need can be a challenge. The money is there and it’s a very good price right now for small business.” 

Wood, who grew up in Mobridge, emphasized the impact any small business makes in South Dakota communities. 

“It’s super important,” Wood said. “These smaller communities depend on small businesses to provide goods and services. They are just as vital as they are in an urban area.” 

Campbell joked about how coffee is more of a want but described it as “almost a need.” She said she appreciates people who seek her business for personal interactions along with a great product. 

“You’re going to be downtown shopping anyway and you’re probably going to need coffee, so swing through,” Campbell said. 

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